[Sathguru Venkataraman revealed the story of Sri Rama Paradesi Swami Siddha to us in the summer of 1988. The photographs in this article were taken in December 1989. What is covered in this article is but a miniscule part of the details revealed by Sathguru Venkataraman. We may cover the rest in the future. More on Siddha Jeeva Samadhi Shrine Worship]
Have you ever met a human being who isn't interested in short cuts? Whether it be fame, wealth, title, position, educational qualifications or any other goal, humans would rather take the short cut than go the roundabout way. This is only natural; and it extends to spirituality too!
What's the short cut to spiritual upliftment? Many of us have asked ourselves this question at one time or another. But how many of us have come up with a good answer? Not many, because only a Siddha can provide an answer to this question.
The shortcut to spiritual upliftment is discipleship under a Siddha divine teacher. To learn from a Siddha when he or she is in the flesh and blood is the easiest way of achieving spiritual upliftment. But few get this opportunity and fewer still make use of such an opportunity.
It's shame that when the Siddha teacher is amongst us, we doubt him, vilify him and abuse him. But when he leaves his mortal frame, we build temples for him and worship him! This is indeed the bane of humans in the Kali Yuga, the present age.
While there's nothing quite as uplifting as learning personally from a Siddha teacher, those who can not do this must at least seek out the tomb shrines of great Siddhas and request them for their guidance and grace.
Can a Siddha's tomb shrine uplift us spiritually? YES! Make no mistake about it. A Siddha's tomb shrine is a living, breathing power center of spirituality from which the great teacher who has departed his or her mortal frame bestows knowledge and grace on all those who seek the same. Try it and experience it yourself.
For the benefit of all, we have begun a series of articles on great Siddhas. This is the first article in this series and it features a great Siddha teacher named Sri Ram Paradesi Svami.
We have described the importance of timing in spirituality in an earlier article in AUMzine Issue 1. There are spiritually potent times within a given day, paksham, maasam, varusham and so on. And then there spiritually unique times which occur once in many yugas! The Siddhas refer to the best of these time periods as amirtha néram; these have been further sub classified.
Sri Agasthiar says that one of the most unique of these time periods was that time period when Lord Siva as Neelakanta consumed the Aalahaala venom and saved the universe from annihilation. During this most compassionate act of the Universal Lord, many great Siddha beings manifested from His divine frame. These great Siddhas are reprints of Lord Siva whom the Lord has manifested for the sake of our spiritual upliftment. Hence we use the epithet "divine" while referring to these teachers. Sri Ram Paradesi Svami Siddha is one such divine teacher.
Sri Ram Paradesi Svami Siddha is a merciful incarnation of the Universal Lord in whom the universal teacher (Dakshina Moorthi) attributes reign supreme.
Sri Ram Paradesi Svami, being a part of parcel of the Universal Lord, is beginningless and endless. He manifests his physical form at will for the sake of uplifting souls in all parts of the universe. In our own world, we can be in the presence of this divine master at his tomb shrine located near the Villianur railway station in Pondicherry, a town about 100 miles south of the city of Madras in south India. There's a large Siva temple near this shrine.
As we said earlier, the great teacher manifests his physical form at will. Guru Mangala Gandharva Venkataraman says that in the eighteenth century, this great Siddha manifested his physical form for a while and personally blessed those who were fortunate enough to be in his divine presence. A work crew was unknowingly digging near his tomb and out walked the great master! He lived among the people for a while and then reentered his tomb whereupon a shrine was built in his honor. This shrine may have been rebuilt many times over the course of the years. The images in this article show the shrine as it was in December 1989.
This great teacher was very fond of the divine name Ram. His very presence would heal the sick, offer peace to the troubled and bestow spiritual knowledge on the seekers. He did not speak much, but when he spoke, all he would say was the divine mantra, "Ram". Hence the townfolk referred to him as Ram Paradesi Swami.
What did he eat? You'd be surprised! Recall that the momentous event that happened during his incarnation was Siva consuming the most lethal Aalahaala venom. True to form, this Siddha master would stick out his tongue when he was hungry and snakes would come from nowhere and deposit their venom on his tongue. He would consume the same thus proving His Neelakanta attribute to doubters. Sri Agasthiar tells us that the kids around him enjoyed this so much that they called him visham thinni svami which means the svami who eats venom! Unique are the ways of Siddhas. Ours is not to reason why, ours is to enjoy and make use of their divine presence for our own spiritual upliftment.
We urge you to visit this shrine and offer worship to this great master. Do not think of this shrine as a tomb; think of it as a living, breathing temple. Do not think of Sri Ram Paradesi Svami as just another Siddha; think of him as the Universal Lord Himself. Sri Ram Paradesi Svami can make any one of us a Siddha at a moment's notice. Our sincerity alone matters, nothing else.
While any day is an auspicious day for offering worship at Siddha tomb shrines, Sundays are ideal for those travelling from afar. Those living nearby should offer worship every day.
When you arrive at this shrine, first make sure that you clean it properly. Then perform abishekam for the great master using water perfumed with rose essence. Clothe his form with brand new silk cloth. Light incense sticks and offer dhoopam and deepam. Meditate on the most exalted Ram mantra and request his guidance and grace.
Of course, as AUMzine readers know very well, no worship is complete without feeding the poor. Make sure you feed and clothe the poor when you're in the presence of Sri Ram Paradesi Svami.
Finally offer thanks to the great teacher and take your leave from his presence. Make sure you come again. And make sure you share this knowledge with one and all. It is not enough that we work on our own spiritual upliftment, but we must do our best to induce others towards this goal also, while being totally conscious of the fact that we are not the doers and it's the Lord who's the prime mover. It's the Sathguru who induces us to induce others towards spiritual upliftment. Thus all praise and glory to the Sathguru.